“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” — Benjamin Franklin
Our friends Kathy and Justin Shady invited us to the Los Angeles Beer Festival last month. Sampling craft beers and food trucks at Paramount Studios in Hollywood? We’re in.
(Kenley and I met Kathy when she worked as a designer at The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C. We reconnected when we moved to Los Angeles, where she and Justin host food night every Sunday.)
We arrived early and were able to walk right into the parking lot, where there were about a dozen food trucks. We were given a small plastic beer mug for our taste-testing, and we got a free mini-cupcake from the Sugar Babies Cupcakery truck for being one of the first 100 people through the gates.
Paramount Studios is celebrating its 100th anniversary and is the only remaining major working studio in Hollywood. “Glee” and “Community” are filmed at the Paramount lot, which you can tour.
When the gates opened to the 80 beer vendors, we headed to the faux streets of the “Lower East Side,” “Brooklyn” and “Chicago” (where Kathy is from) at the back corner of the Paramount back lot, hoping to beat some of the crowds. The lines were still long, but that gave us time to finish each beer before sampling another. We ended up sampling beers from about eight breweries before we stopped keeping count:
- Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Paso Robles, Calif. (From the family of Andrew Firestone. You might remember he was the third “Bachelor” … or you might not.)
- Deschutes Brewery, Bend, Ore. Their beers are distributed west of Texas. Available
- Old World Brewery, Phoenix. Their beers are distributed in the greater Phoenix area.
- Mission Brewery, San Diego
- Wirtshaus, a German Restaurant and Biergarten at 345 N. La Brea Ave, Los Angeles
- Eagle Rock Brewery, Los Angeles. This is apparently the first brewery to locate in Los Angeles in about 60 years, and there’s a public tap room, which is open Wednesday through Sunday. Might have to make a field trip to the East side to visit.
- Ninkasi Brewing Co., Eugene, Ore. Their beer is distributed in San Francisco, but not as far south as L.A.
- Cismontane Brewing Co., Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. Their tasting room is open Thursday through Sunday.
My last beer of the day?
A PBR from the Pabst vendor. There wasn’t even a line!
Along the way, we stopped to get a group photo in a photo-booth truck:
And, because the mini-cupcake just wasn’t enough and we had worked up an appetite after a few beers, we had a maple bacon cupcake from Friandise Pastries.
We started to slow down and decided to rest on the steps of a building in the “Washington Square” set. Don’t you think we look like we could be in a sitcom? (“Seinfeld” used this row of Georgian-style facades.)
After we wandered through the streets of fake “New York” and “Chicago,” we entered the Blue Sky Tank, where more beer vendors were set up. There’s a large blue-sky backdrop, and the tank can be filled with 900,000 gallons of water to create lake/ocean scenes for movies and TV shows.
Next time, I need to take notes about which beers are my favorite, but I’m afraid that would slow us down too much. After all, you want to get your $40 worth (which is about four or five pints at your favorite L.A. watering hole). I might recommend picking out the breweries you know you want to try and mapping out a strategy before you go.
And many beer fest veterans wore strings of pretzels around their necks, presumably to cleanse their palates (or to soak up the alcohol).
Drink.Eat.Play’s next event is the inaugural LA Cocktail Classic June 8 at the Vibiana event hall, and next year’s LA Beer Fest is scheduled for April 6.
After the Beer Fest, we went to nearby Baby Blues Barbecue, where I ordered the pulled-pork plate. It wasn’t nearly as good as our favorite spots in South Carolina, but you know what they say: There is no such thing as bad barbecue.